USA Announces Final Roster for FIBA World Cup

K.C. Johnson
Chicago Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Now, the only question becomes whether Derrick Rose reclaims his starting spot.

Rose, the starting point guard when USA Basketball captured gold at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, was named one of 12 finalists for the FIBA World Cup that begins Aug. 30 in Spain.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the roster overnight Friday. It contains Rose, Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, James Harden, Mason Plumlee and Klay Thompson.

“Since taking over the USA Basketball men’s national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we’ve gone through,” Colangelo said. “I can’t stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist. I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent; each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end, it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing.”

After sitting out Wednesday’s exhibition in New York because of fatigue and soreness, Rose came off the bench to spell Kyrie Irving in Friday’s exhibition victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden.

Team USA was scheduled to leave for Spain on Saturday afternoon and open preliminary play against Finland in Bilbao on Aug. 30.

Rose’s inclusion in the final roster followed a bumpy week in which Rose missed two practices and one game, which seemed to set off alarm bells for a player who has suffered two season-ending knee surgeries. But Rose all along privately expressed confidence, as did Bulls coach and Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

“I think Derrick feels very confident,” Krzyzewski told reporters in New York following Friday’s game. “Thought he played great (Friday). And these guys want to play with him. Part of getting back is to be around a group of peers. These guys are peers who want (Rose)to be really good. Hopefully, that will help Derrick as he gets ready to keep participating in this, but also for the NBA season.”

The final cuts were former Bull Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward.

International Collaberation of Sports Scientists Create A Better Diet For Basketball Players

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As players in the NBA wind down after a hectic schedule of matches at the close of season, coaches and strategists will be looking ahead to work out how improve on performances for 2014/15.

Now an international collaboration of sports scientists, involving researchers at the University of Bath (UK) and Westmont College, California (US), have joined forces to develop new nutritional guidance that could help players preparing for big games.

Their research points towards how sodium bicarbonate ‘baking powder’, and carbohydrate supplements could be useful in countering the physical challenges players face playing competitive basketball. From dribbling, to lay-ups and slam-dunks, basketball requires frequent bursts of intense physical exertion, interspersed with active recovery. It’s thought that better nutritional guidance could improve their performance and offset fatigue over the course of a game.

In a recent research paper, published in the leading International Journal of Sport and Exercise Nutrition (IJSNEM), the researchers outline how much of what is known about the limitations to physical performance in basketball comes from lab-based tests, therefore is not reflective of the challenges of a real game.

Dr James Betts from the University’s of Bath’s Department of Health explains: “Almost all the nutritional advice available to intermittent or team-sports players in general, and to basketball players in particular, actually comes from laboratory-based studies using continuous fixed-intensity exercise on a treadmill or cycle ergometer.

“Through our study we questioned whether it is a fair assumption that these guidelines would truly apply to basketball players during the unique physiological challenges posed in their sport.”

The researchers argue that the current nutritional advice for players also fails to take into account that basketball players are far from average in size and weight. An average player in the NBA towers above most, at 6ft 7, and weighs over 220 pounds (around 15 stone).

Through their study, they enlisted 27 well-trained male basketball players, and monitored their vital stats and performance throughout a game and in high-intensity shuttle runs.

Their results showed how swallowing carbohydrate shortly before exercise caused hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar – during the first quarter and resulted in poorer sprinting ability and lay-up shooting performance. However, sprint times were actually faster in the final quarter when either carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate had been ingested before exercise, although neither directly resulted in any increased skill from players.

Lead-author, Professor Gregg Afman from Westmont College, added: “We looked at how nutritional practices, carbohydrate and sodium bicarbonate, may enhance basketball skill during a simulated game.

“We also validated the testing protocol to be a valid measure of the metabolic costs of a basketball game. Our results show that within the context of this design, ingestion of carbohydrate and/or sodium bicarbonate shortly before basketball has the potential to offset fatigue and thus improve aspects of performance late in exercise, although both supplements require balanced consideration of individual tolerance prior to competition to minimize acute negative side-effects.”

To access a copy of the paper, ‘Effect of carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion on performance during a validated basketball simulation test’, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism see http://opus.bath.ac.uk/39097/.

Under Armour Is Banking On Kevin Durant’s Global Reach

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August 21, 2014
Greg Price
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

Under Amour has dared to challenge Nike for a share of the $4.5 billion basketball shoe business.

The Maryland-based company reportedly offered Oklahoma City Thunder forward and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant a new endorsement contract worth as much as $265 million or $285 million, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported Thursday.

The deal includes stock and a community center to be built in Durant’s mother’s name.

Nike does have the right to match, and if it does, Durant legally can’t switch to the rising Under Armour. Rovell called the potential deal “the most intriguing” one he’s ever seen, with Under Armour looking to gain its first significant foothold in a market Nike has long dominated.

Forbes reports, Nike and its Jordan Brand subsidiary held a 92 percent market share last year, compared to 0.7 percent for Under Armour.

Durant, represented by rapper Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, has been a client of Nike’s since he entered the league in 2007. Yet, since he hired Roc Nation last year, he’s already spurned beverage titans Gatorade for Talking Rain.

Under Amour hopes bucking the norm turns into a pattern for Durant and that it can continue to grow in a global sports apparel market expected to reach $178 billion in revenue by 2019, Forbes reported in March.

Under Armour has essentially gone all in on Durant, much the same way Adidas did when it signed Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose to a 13-year, $185 million deal in 2012. The gamble thus far hasn’t helped Adidas’s market share. Last year it had 5.5 percent, up only half a percent from 2012.

Rose has played a total of 10 NBA games the last two years due to serious injuries in both of his knees, and sales of his shoes were flat last year, at $40 million, when compared to 2012 figures.

Barring a similar string of crippling injuries, Durant is on pace for a Hall of Fame career and could be the NBA’s top endorser in the future. The Thunder are perennial contenders in the Western Conference, and last year Nike totaled $175 million off products tied to Durant and his signature trademark “KD.”

Durant could earn as much as $28.5 million per year from Under Armour, but he would still be second to Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who’s expected to rake in roughly $30 million from Nike this year.

Though the NBA’s two top players can’t come close to legend Michael Jordan and the $100 million in royalties he earned from Nike in 2013.

Founded in 1996, Under Armour has gradually built up its brand and market share by designing and selling sports apparel, and then shifting to running and football shoe wear. Basketball would seem like the next logical step, but Nike’s stranglehold on the sport and its superstars has limited new challengers.

Under Armour started to lure top NBA players last year when it signed Golden State guard Stephen Curry, but the possible addition of Durant could be a tipping point.

“A bold move like KD, and overpaying him, I think is a nice strategic play for them,” said Matt Dzamba, director of Sports Marketing for Zambezi. “From a global perspective, any article you ever read about Under Armour it talks about their global growth. When you look at the global landscape there’s a saying that ‘if you want to go global, you go to China.’ The NBA guys there are superstars to the nth degree.”

And though losing a player of Durant’s caliber would hurt most companies, Nike has much more staying power and depth in its current roster of clients.

“This deal is far more important to Under Armour than Nike,” said Marc Edelman, sports law professor at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. “Nike already has a huge portfolio of elite athlete athletic endorsers, across all sports; Durant would be just one more.

“By contrast, for Under Armour this poses a unique opportunity to secure a premier athlete sponsorship. With the stock option component of this sponsorship, the deal can be compared with some of the deals Oiselle has made with elite women’s runners, albeit likely on a far larger monetary scale

Durant has worked hard the last seven years, molding Oklahoma City into one of the top teams in the West. He’s notched four scoring titles, been named to the All-Star team five straight times and took the franchise to its first NBA Finals since relocating from Seattle. But he will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2015-16 season, a small window of two years that Under Armour likely hasn’t overlooked.

James dominated the headlines last month after he announced his return to his home state of Ohio, and Durant could follow suit. He grew up in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, and the nearby Washington Wizards have been tabbed as early front-runners should Durant decide to bolt Oklahoma City. TV By The Numbers ranks Oklahoma City as the 45th largest television market in the country, drastically lower than No. 9 Washington. Durant could earn far more in local endorsements, on top of his salary and shoe deals, while playing in front of his hometown

“If the Wizards are a young, growing team, which they are, and they make sense from a basketball perspective, I think it can’t hurt him considering going home,” Dzamba said. “The irony of the situation is the two most likely suitors for him in two years will probably be a New York team, either Brooklyn or the Knicks, or the Lakers. Then you get into the argument it is a nice story, and it’s nice to have our big basketball guy playing in Under Armour’s market. But from a business perspective I would almost rather he play on the Lakers, which has great global visibility, a blue- chip brand, tradition and the built-in Chinese audience to kind of make him more of a global play.”

BroadbandTV and the NBA Continue Content Claiming Relationship on YouTube

Vancouver, BC (August 19th, 2014): Leading media and technology company BroadbandTV (BBTV) has renewed and expanded its relationship with the National Basketball Association (NBA) internationally. BBTV and the NBA first teamed up in April 2009 for the management of its fan-uploaded content.

As part of the relationship, BBTV and the NBA will continue to work together to enhance the NBA Channel on YouTube. The NBA Channel on YouTube has received more than 2.2 billion page views, and more than 5.6 million subscribers, making it the most popular professional sports channel on YouTube.

“Our commitment to deliver the most advanced solutions possible has allowed us to build upon our relationship with one of the world’s largest and most prestigious content owners,” said Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, BroadbandTV. “We’re thrilled to extend the relationship and help the NBA to become even more successful on YouTube.”

BroadbandTV has developed some of the most advanced and innovative technologies in the online video space: VISO NOVI, for detecting and managing fan-uploaded content and VISO Catalyst for enhancing viewership and engagement for premium videos. Both platforms empower content owners and creators to become more successful online. BroadbandTV also operates the third largest multi-channel network in the world.

For more information on BBTV please visit: www.bbtv.com

NBA Might Tweak Lottery Odds To Curb Tanking

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Brian Schmitz
Orlando Sentinel
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

It’s one thing for the NBA to relegate the Magic to persona non grata (no national TV love and unfavorable schedule). It’s quite another for the league to perhaps take away the one club in the bag that they’ve used since Dwight Howard departed.

If commissioner Adam Silver has his way, he’ll make changes to the draft-lottery system in an attempt to reward winning and curtail tanking, perhaps as early as this season.

Oh, yes, tanking — the scourge of our time.

It has to be stamped out, you know, for the sake of the children.

Silver wants to balance out the lottery, maybe awarding the bottom six teams with equal odds for a shot at No. 1. Maybe then a scenario can unfold like it did in … well, May.

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t try to tank last season, but surprisingly won the lottery despite just a 1.7-percent chance and the ninth-worst record (33-49).

All that did was allow the Cavs to pick Andrew Wiggins, trade him in a deal for All-Star Kevin Love and make LeBron James’ homecoming the league’s next feature attraction.

What exactly is Silver’s concern again?

Let’s see: It now has been 10 years since the team with the worst record won the lottery (Orlando claimed Howard at No. 1 in 2004).

Silver is overreacting — as are various critics — to last season’s full-out tanking tactics.

Several team-rebuilding projects and a hot-shot draft class just happened to meet at the intersection of Wiggins & Parker.

Even if it is utilizing the lottery format in place, no club wants to conduct a financially harmful campaign of strategic losing in the hope of landing a franchise star.

No team prefers to painstakingly rebuild with young players and invent mysterious injuries to key players late in the season, opening itself to charges of intentionally losing.

Does anyone really think the Magic, the Sixers or the Bucks want to be in this position?

Orlando is still in recovery after Howard forced a trade. Philadelphia basically fielded a D-League team last season. And what’s confusing is that Silver fiercely defended the Sixers against tanking accusations, even going as far as saying they were “doing the right thing.”

“It’s an insult to the entire league to suggest that these guys are going out on the floor and aren’t doing their very best to win games,” Silver said. “You look at any business, you look at short-term results and long-term results. And if somebody told you a business was going to operate on a quarter-by-quarter [basis], you’d say, ‘That’s not the way to operate a business.’ You’d say, ‘You need a strategy. You need to look at the long-term.’ And I think what this organization is doing is absolutely the right thing.

“What they’re doing is planning for the future and building an organization from the ground level up.”

OK, so the commish did a little public-relations dance in taking up for the Sixers.

Understandably, the Sixers, according to ESPN, are opposed to Silver now suggesting it’s time to change the lottery odds. The Magic also should be annoyed. Picking at No. 4, this time they just missed out on the top three marquee draft choices of Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joe